Frank "Cannonball" Richards and His Indestructible Belly

In 1932, Frank "Cannonball" Richards achieved vaudeville fame with his indestructible belly:

Richards began his strange journey into belly abuse by allowing his friends to punch him in the gut. His perceived imperviousness to the trauma prompted him to take the act a step further until, eventually, he was enduring and absorbing body blows from heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey.

‘Cannonball’ Richards steadily increased the level of distress he subjected his belly too. He soon allowed spectators to jump on his stomach. Following that he allowed himself to be struck by a two-by-four and then, later, he was able to endure repeated sledgehammer blows. From all reports and records, there were no gimmicks at work during these performances.

Finally, in a feat that ‘Cannonball’ Richards would forever be remembered for, Richards took to being shot in the belly with a cannonball.

The Human Marvel has more: Link | Or you can watch the video clip here: Link [YouTube]


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Obviously the cannon is fake. Even an old cannon ball will approach the speed of sound. That is enough to tear through a blue whale, let alone a person. They used a demonstration cannon, like the kind at the circus where guys get shot out. Probably a small charge of explosive was used. Still impressive, but lets not pretend it was a real cannon.
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Not only is "Cannonball" to be thanked for his contribution to our society's infinite diversity through his performances, but he served as the inspiration for a Simpson's episode in which Homer performed "Cannonball's" trademark feat. Woo yoo !
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